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What does Ramachandran Plot tell us?

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  • Last Updated : 03 Nov, 2022
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A Ramachandran plot, also known as a Ramachandran diagram or a Rama plot in the field of biochemistry, was originally developed by Viswanathan Sasisekharan (born in 1993), C. Ramakrishnan and Gopalasamudram Narayana Ramachandran. Ramachandran plot is the plot of angles called psi (ψ) and phi (φ) of the residues (which are commonly known as amino acids) present in a peptide. Ramachandran plot is a method for imagining enthusiastically (or) energetically permitted areas for backbone or spine dihedral points ψ against φ of amino acid buildups in the protein structure.  As the partial-double-bond keeps the peptide bond planar, the ω angle at that particular peptide bond is always 180 degrees (180°). 

The sequence order of the torsion angle for phi (φ) is N(i-1), C(i), Ca(i), N(i), and the torsion angle for psi (ψ)is C(i), Ca(i), N(i), C(i+1). This was developed by G.N. Ramachandran in the year 1963 by plotting values of psi on the Y-axis and values of phi on the X-axis. The torsional points of every buildup in a peptide characterize the calculation of its connection to its two nearby deposits by situating its planar peptide bond comparative with the two contiguous planar peptide bonds, consequently, the torsional points decide the conformity of the buildups, and the peptide. 

Because of steric hindrance, many combinations of angles and also residue conformations are not possible. With the help of this Ramachandran plot, scientists can determine the permitted angles to insight into the structure of proteins

Ramachandran Plot


Regions in Ramachandran Plot

Determination of the secondary structure of proteins can be done by Ramachandran plot. Ramachandran’s plot consists of four quadrants.

  1. Quadrant-I: Quadrant-I is the area of confirmations, where all the confirmations are allowed. In this region, we can find left-handed alpha.
  2. Quadrant-II: Quadrant-II is the biggest region in the whole graph. Particularly, this region has better conditions for the confirmation of atoms.
  3. Quadrant-III: Quadrant-III is the biggest region after Quadrant-II. In this region, we can find right-handed alpha.
  4. Quadrant-IV: Quadrant-IV has practically no framed locale. This conformation(ψ around—180 to 0 degrees, φ around 0-180 degrees) is disfavored due to steric conflict.

Secondary Structure Plot

The secondary structures of the peptide are usually fragments (small pieces) of the peptide that have requested and monotonous construction, and the repetitive structure is because of dull compliance of the deposits and, eventually, redundant upsides of φ and ψ. The different secondary designs can be recognized by their scope of φ and ψ values, with the upsides of various auxiliary designs planning to various areas of the Ramachandran plot. The two most common examples of secondary structures in the Ramachandran plot are given below.

Examples are α-helix and β-sheets


Let us imagine the hub of the α-helix which is being rotated in the y-plane. While reviewing the helix on end, notice the open focal point of the helix. Planes are drawn on a portion of the peptide bonds to underscore that in an α-helix the planar peptide bonds turn about the hub of the helix. The Ramachandran plot of this peptide has focuses grouped on values of respectively ψ= – 47 degrees and φ= – 57 degrees, which are the typical qualities for α-helices. Adding the upsides of two other helical sections exhibits that information from each of the three shows up in one huge bunch, and that the helical portions can not be recognized by the distinctions in their φ and ψ values.


Show a two-fragment curved β-sheet. Draw planes of the peptide bonds. Most β-sheets in globular proteins are turned sheets that don’t have level-equal creases. Closer perspective on β-sheets. The Ramachandran plot of this bent sheet has focuses grouped on the upsides of ψ= +140 degrees and  φ= -130 degrees, which are the typical qualities for contorted sheets. Adding the upsides of three other sheet fragments all the more characterizes the region wherein values for wound sheets are found.

Preferences of Amino Acids

One could expect that bigger side chains would bring about additional limitations and thus a more modest reasonable district in the Ramachandran plot, however, the impact of side chains is small. By and by, the significant impact seen is that of the presence or nonattendance of the methylene bunch at Cβ. Glycine has just a hydrogen particle for its side chain, with a lot more modest van der Waals span than the CH3, CH2, or CH bunch that begins the side chain of any remaining amino acids. Thus, it is least limited, and this is obvious in the Ramachandran plot for glycine, for which the admissible region is extensively bigger. Conversely, the Ramachandran plot for proline, with its 5-membered-ring side chain associating Cα to spine N, shows a predetermined number of potential mixes of ψ and φ. The buildup going before proline (“pre-proline”) additionally has restricted mixes, contrasted with the general case.

Uses of Ramachandran Plot

A Ramachandran plot can be utilized in two various ways. One is to show in principle which values, or conformities, of the psi(ψ) and phi(φ)  torsional angles, are feasible for the buildup or residue of an amino-corrosive in a protein structure. This is the first advantage of this plot. The second one is to show the observational dissemination of data points seen in a solitary design in utilization for structure approval, or, more than likely, in a data set of many designs. Either body of evidence is normally displayed against frames for the hypothetically preferred locales.

FAQs on Ramachandran Plot

Question 1: What is Ramachandran’s Plot?


Ramachandran Plot: The method of imagining energetically permitted areas for backbone dihedral points psi (ψ) against phi (φ) of amino acid buildups in the protein structure is popularly known as Ramachandran Plot. It was proposed by G.N. Ramachandran back in 1963. 

Question 2: Mention two uses of the Ramachandran plot.


The most frequent uses of Ramachandran plot are

  • Showing the principle values of psi(ψ) and phi(φ) angles, are feasible for the residue of an amino-corrosive in a protein structure.
  • Showing the observational dissemination of data points seen in a solitary design in utilization for structure approval, or, more than likely, in a data set of many designs. 

Question 3: What is the importance of the Ramachandran Plot?


The Ramachandran plot gives a simple method for reviewing the dispersion of angles of a protein structure. It likewise gives an outline of permitted and denied districts of angle values, filling in as a significant figure the assessment of the nature of protein three-layered structures.

Question 4: What is the sequence order of torsion angles for phi and psi in the Ramachandran Plot?


Sequence Order

  • The sequence order of torsion angle for phi (φ) is considered as N(i-1), C(i), Ca(i), N(i).
  • The sequence order of torsion angle for psi is considered as C(i), Ca(i), N(i), C(i+1). 

Question 5: What are the regions of the Ramachandran Plot? In which region, we can find the right-handed alpha?


There are four regions in Ramachandran plot. They are,

  • Quadrant-I 
  • Quadrant-II
  • Quadrant-III 
  • Quadrant-IV

In Quadrant—III, we can find the right-handed alpha.

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